Long before the dawning
Not a creature heard about.
Old bones they start to aching
As tired muscles begin to shout.
He struggles from his bedroll
Tired and broke and bent.
Mornings they come early below the rim
When you’re under ole “Cookie’s Tent.”
An ole black hat sets on his head
Weathered by sweat and smoke.
As he kneels there on the ground
The morning fire he begins to stoke.
It is a battle to stand upright
And he is proud to make it once more.
His ole tired muscles have faded
Like time washes sand there from the shore.
Sixty years he’s been a wagon cook
And time it hasn’t been too fair.
Weathered, scared and weary
He has seen and done his share.
They say he broke his back
I believe it was in the fall of ’83.
A runaway team flipped the wagon
And it was the next day b’for they got him free.
There’s many wrinkles on his face
Etched there by time and sun.
Maybe they’re his message or reminder
That his ole race is nearly done.
You will never here him say much
But I’d give anything to know his story.
Oh you’ll catch a little mumble every now and then
Something about his days of glory.
They say he came over from England
A yougin’ of 14, a stowaway on a boat.
Craving the cowboy lifestyle
From reading dime novels, some feller wrote.
You can ask him about his past
He’ll just say it sure went by in a flash.
Then he’ll go back to making biscuits
Stirring gravy and the hash.
His eyes still have a little sparkle
But like his ole lantern it too is growing dim.
His gait is somewhat slower
As the first hint of morning peaks above the rim.
But you won’t catch him loafing
His food is always hot.
The grub it is aplenty
And coffee is always in the pot.
Now I’m glad I heard him stirring
And peeked from my bedroll,
To watch this bit of history
And the journey that did unfold.
I never will forget that morning
That time I spent with him.
I now look back on it often
That morning there “Below the Rim.”